May 17, 2010

Farm Bill Follies
Rep. Collin Peterson, powerful Chair of the House Ag Committee and one of the main players in the coming debate of the future of farm subsidies, loves to tout his respect for local food. He even holds an annual local food conference in his district back in Minnesota. And at the moment, he's holding hearings across the country to start the "conversation" on the next Farm Bill, which is due to be re-authorized in 2012. Today, he let his true colors show (via Nation Journal $ub req'd):
House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson said today he would like to eliminate all limitations on government payments to farmers due to their size of payments or incomes.

"I hope we can make changes so we don't have to have payment limits in the future," Peterson said after a hearing on the 2012 farm bill, where several witnesses criticized USDA's implementation of the 2008 farm bill's rules on payment limitation rules regarding corporations.

Peterson said that he is "all for" local foods and organic production and big farms "should be treated equally" with small farmers in getting payments. Noting that most of the food produced in the United States comes from the 300,000 to 350,000 biggest farms, Peterson said those operations still need a safety net.
Let's do it! Each according to his needs, my eye! So what if current law allows you to receive subsidies if you make up to $750,000 a year from your farm. So what if 60% of farm payments already go to the largest commercial farms?

My offer assumes, of course, that we also eliminate payment limits on social security payments, welfare payments and unemployment payments. Do we have a deal, Collin? Or is this another case of "caps for me but not for thee"? Agribusiness lackeys do seem to specialize in shamelessness, don't they?

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Blogger Marc said...

And isn't Peterson considered a "deficit hawk" by Washington insiders? A hawk with a blind spot for unlimited subsidies to the commodity agriculture, but who is aggressive against most other kinds of ag subsidy.

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